The adoption of lean sigma in a UK longitudinal manufacturing case study
The power and influence of the individual techniques of Lean Production (L.P.) and Six Sigma (S.S.) are well recognised as successful manufacturing Continuous Improvement (C.I.) and Change Management (C.M.) methodologies. Both techniques are able to be successfully introduced and applied in the manufacturing companies of the UK with both techniques having a history of successful performance improvement. The hypothesis the research attempts to test is founded upon the limitations of the independent adoption of the techniques in contrast to the development of a more powerful Lean Sigma synergy, blending both techniques in a combined approach. The tools used individually limit the potential and pace of the manufacturing business development with both improvement systems having hard limits and constraining boundaries that the fundamentalist supporters are unable or unwilling to question. This research aims to prove that the cocktail of the techniques known as Lean Sigma (L.S.) can significantly improve the ability of the manufacturing business to accelerate the C.I. process whilst maintaining a more structured and disciplined roll out process that combines the creative waste reduction of L.P. and the statistical improvement and management techniques of S.S. Breaking down the constraints and hard limits of the individual techniques by harnessing the most powerful and influential elements of the two systems to produce a significantly more holistic C.I. programme that delivers the penetration and flexibility of Lean combined with the structure and rigour of Six Sigma. This research follows the migration from the C.I. methodology of Total Quality Management (T.Q.M.) to the acceptance of Lean Sigma in a UK manufacturing case study and is supported by three satellite UK longitudinal manufacturing case studies. The resultant case study analysis attempts to uncover evidence to defend the criticism that the two techniques are mutually exclusive and furthermore that they have a significant combined and complementary impact on the case study businesses that have accepted the dual attack strategy of Lean Sigma. By the process of becoming partial embedded in each of the case studies the researcher has experienced the longitudinal change process first hand and plotted the nuances in each of the studies, comparing and contrasting the differing approaches to the adoption of the methodologies and the roll out strategies. The findings of the research highlight the increased impact of the combined approach in areas as diverse as workforce commitment, floor space utilisation, machine up time, reduced labour requirements reduced tooling costs, component quality improvements, health and safety advances, process efficiency and cost reduction activity.